Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can prevent disputes later on
No one gets married with the intention of filing for divorce unless that person is running some sort of scam to get the other person’s money or property. Most people in Washington County believe that they are marrying their one true love. However, about half of all marriages now end in divorce court.
Even after divorce granted, legal fights continue
Even without significant assets or a lot of money involved, divorces can be complicated and easily turn into a nasty fight with former spouses filing motion after motion and bickering over the smallest issues. In one extreme case, a divorce was granted in August 2003 to a couple in Connecticut, according to USA Today, but the spouses continue to fight over child visitation, amassing 600 motions in the past 10 years. The legal court fight led to indictments against the ex-husband for insider trading, accusations that he was not truthful about a wrongful termination settlement and questioning of his ability to be a parent.
It is unknown whether the couple had a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement but it is unlikely that there was one in place. If there had been one, the two ex-spouses could have likely avoided a lengthy court battle.
The role of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
Many people believe that such legal agreements are for couples who have a lot of wealth to protect but they can also set in writing what will happen if a couple files for divorce. For example, maybe a wife wants reassurance that her giving up a college education to become a mother and homemaker will not leave her high and dry if the marriage doesn’t last so she negotiates for a certain percentage of alimony in the event of a divorce.
These legal agreements can also provide protections or directions for couples including:
- Requiring that each spouse take care of their own credit card debt
- Protecting future income
- Retention of a family-owned business
- How a marital home will be handled in the event of a divorce
- Child custody/support agreements
Huffington Post points out that having a legal agreement can make divorces a smoother process and eliminate the need to spend money on costly litigation.
Every couple should have a legal agreement
According to US News & World Report, every couple should have some type of legal agreement, regardless of what their financial situation is at the time. Often, couples just starting out do not think they need one but as time goes on they acquire assets such as a family home, better income, a retirement plan and student loan debt which could be shared by both spouses, regardless of which spouse accumulated it.
While the agreement may be a sensitive topic, couples should discuss ahead of time what should happen in the event of a divorce. Talking with an experienced attorney can help you draft an agreement that both you and your spouse will be comfortable with.